The Egyptian Tourism Authority (ETA) sent a letter to the Egyptian Travel Agencies Association (ETAA) to promote the visit of Roman Catholic Pope Francis at the end of April in a bid to increase tourism.
The letter sent by the ETA directed companies to promote the visit in neighbouring and European countries in order to attract tourists to partake in the Pope’s mass, which will be held on 29 April.
Head of the ETA, Hisham El Demery, said that the authority is coordinating with the private sector in the marketing of tourism products in all events that take place in Egypt.
He added that the Pope’s visit to Egypt is a very important event in the current period, as it conveys the message that Egypt is safe.
Tarek Adham, a member of the Chamber of Tourism in Marsa Alam, expected tourism inflows to increase in the coming period, despite the recent terrorism operations.
He noted that the entire world is currently facing terrorism—not Egypt alone—highlighting rapprochement between the political leadership in Egypt and the leaders of western countries in the face of extremism and terrorism.
Adham said that there is already an improvement in occupancy rates in the Red Sea area, even though English tourism has not increased in Sharm El-Sheikh.
The hotel capacity in Egypt amounts to 225,000 rooms, two thirds of which are in the Red Sea and South Sinai area.
He pointed out that occupancies in the Red Sea area cities are improving, as well as average spending per night.
Chairperson of the Marsa Alam Investors Association Adel Rady said that occupancy rates have varied from one hotel to the other in the recent period, where some hotels reached 80%, while others remained below 10%.
He explained that international brand hotels are outperforming Egyptian hotels.
A senior manager at one of the hotels in Hurghada said that occupancy rates registered their highest in the recent period, as Egyptian and foreign families came to spend the Easter holidays, before falling again from 60% to 40%.
He expected stable occupancy rates until the end May, before they hike again during the summer vacation.
He pointed out that hotels are working to attract Egyptian families and individuals through promotional offers and discounts, despite the recent increase in operating costs following the flotation of the pound in November.